“To expect Georgia to come even remotely close to the quality of assessment being done by actual testing experts at PARCC — attempting to assess reasoning and thinking rather than rote recall — would be, in the kindest terms, unlikely, ” said Gerald Eads, a professor at Georgia Gwinnett College and a former testing director with the state of Virginia.
Professor Ead’s quote raises another question. What is Georgia likely to do about improving the economy or the quality of life of its residents if it isn’t prepared to invest in first class education K–12 and beyond? Or expand health care through Obamacare? Or create a network of transportation solutions and water conservation or infrastructure? It is harder to predict a glorious healthy economy without these investments. Is our future success to result from the mistakes others might make or actions we initiate and nurture?
It has been decades since we pushed ahead of other states with the HOPE scholarship and grant programs, which today only cover the cost of college for a fraction of Georgia’s students. Even HOPE required a referendum leaving state elected leaders with the option to avoid the responsibility for taxing and funding education. Somehow Georgia’s most popular elected leaders are those who demur from the real challenges of funding programs to improve the lives of their constituents. It’s common practice to avoid solving a problem if the solution requires any financial risk.
Imagine Georgia without Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International airport if the leadership of the city had not found a way to pay for its construction and operation. Or perhaps Atlanta should have defied the federal judge and refused to fund the water infrastructure and operational improvements causing a halt to sewer hook ups and a slow down of construction in metro Atlanta as the judge threaten. Or Atlanta, Fulton and Dekalb residents could have done what Cobb, Gwinnett and Clayton counties did when it came to MARTA. They avoided the MARTA sales tax to build the rail system that now carries approximately 400,000 people each day and contributes to the economic vitality of the metro region and the state.
Didn’t I read recently the state is funding bus service for fewer than 20,000 riders per day? Now that’s a small start after 40 years of MARTA being denied state funding.
Maybe the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter, Maureen Downey has it right about education funding but there is much more missing in state policy and funding if Georgia is to prosper in the years to come.